AIM software at National Air Traffic Services

Koala Case Study

April 2014

DEA, DTS and Transform software systems, developed for National Air Traffic Services (NATS) by Koala, form key components of the NATS Nucleus aeronautical information management (AIM) product line.

The DEA application is designed for input, checking and processing of new and amended data for AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) documents and data sets which generate these documents.

The April 2014 enhancements to DEA include a whole new visual representation based on Google® technology and more flexible management of AIXM (Aeronautical Information eXchange Methodology, developed jointly by the FAA and EuroControl). Recently Google Maps have been integrated into DEA to allow coordinates being to be checked by the data originators and sponsors.

The Nucleus product was created in order to populate the AIM database in a manner compliant with the restrictions of ADQ. Before that was completed there was no AIXM snapshot resource to check and support data originators. Since the project has completed the population of the AIM database, an authoratative AIXM snapshot is now available and has been integrated into the Transform product, within Nucleus, so that features can be identified by their unique identifying ‘mid’ values earlier in the process and streamline the processing required to update data in the AIM database.

Transform is reposnsible for providing a universal transform mechanism to AIXM 4.5. Transform will generate AIXM data for all information where elements are provided in the AIXM Schema. For example, runway physical characteristics (length, width, geographic centre point, orientation etc) and airspace definition (horizontal vertices, vertical extent etc) are specifically included in the AIXM schema.

However, some sections of the AIP contain information which cannot be represented in AIXM. For example, some of the information in the GEN (General) section of the AIP is not represented by the AIXM schema. However, to publish the AIP in compliance with Annex 15, this information must still be included, so a non-AIXM data set must be produced to accommodate this.

The DTS application is used to convert Aeronautical Information Publications from PDF documents into XML data, NATS required DTS to perform a semi automatic transformation of PDF files into an XML data structure based on the structure defined in ICAO Annex 15.

Trusted editors are able to override any of the data values created by the automatic translation of the PDF file to split text into atomic data fields and allow for the possibility that the AIP may be non-compliant with the Annex 15 structure.To ensure editors were aware of the context of the data values in the original document, the editing process was to interact with a pixel for pixel copy of the original PDF page. Editable values were to be highlighted on the page with colours representing their status: transformed, edited, non Annex 15 or invalid

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